Senior Director, Emerging Technology
In this series, we interview the people behind Octo’s oLabs™ to learn more about their philosophies and work that make innovation happen. Meet Cesar Tavares, Senior Director of Emerging Technology.
What is your title, and what do you do for Octo?
As a Senior Director of Emerging Technology, my focus area is really bringing innovation into our company and the solutions we deliver.
What does innovation mean to you?
To me, innovation is synonymous with adapting to trends. Whether it’s blockchain, artificial intelligence, low code, no code, etc., the key is that you have to adapt to stay relevant. As a practice lead, I look across the technology world and ask, “What technologies will drive business in the future? How can we bring like-minded people together to use those technologies to help our clients and make us stand out?” Innovation is the continuous creation of ideas that generate value. Consequently this means to be innovative you need to be able to accept new ideas by adopting change.
How do you promote a culture that fosters innovation?
Creating a culture that fosters innovation is critical to adapting to emerging technologies. Our approach is multi-faceted:
- We give people autonomy and a place to be creative, which is why we started oLabs. It’s a beautiful facility that brings technologists together to collaborate and have fun with emerging technologies.
- Our annual hackathon provides an outlet for people to find creative ways to apply technologies to existing problems our customers face.
- Our intern program helps us find the next creative types to bring fresh ideas into the company.
What do you look for in up-and-coming technologists?
One of the most important things I look for is whether they are passionate about technology. A good indicator of that is whether or not they have side projects. So often, we see folks who go to school, do their work, and graduate, which is great. Often, they have missed out on real-world practical applications. The best way to get that experience is by taking the initiative to do side projects. Build a calculator, a video game, anything that’s fun and interesting to the person. If I see a candidate who has those qualities, it shows me that they are passionate, willing to learn something new, and dedicated.
At Octo, we talk about jumping the technology curve. What does that mean?
In my opinion, it means helping customers get to the next level. From an innovation standpoint, I help them visualize what it means to jump the curve. We use oLabs to test solutions, build pilots, and showcase our solutions so they can see what’s possible. We help them see the value in using open source products as frameworks to provide flexibility for today’s and tomorrow’s needs. Being able to help our clients visualize the possibilities is important. You can talk as much as you want. You can submit a great proposal. But seeing is believing, and oLabs helps us do just that.
What makes oLabs important?
oLabs offers a space where folks can be creative without the risk of making a mistake. It’s hard to be creative on a customer site because of the risk that comes with trying new, untested ideas. At oLabs, however, you have the resources at your fingertips, the teammates to support you, and the environment that encourages you to build anything you want. It’s a place for people to exercise their skills and creativity in ways that make big impacts for our clients.
Stay tuned for our next installment and news on the oLabs grand opening.
Housed in a custom-built 14,000 square foot facility at Octo’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia, oLabs is the largest privately-owned R&D facility in the DC metro area dedicated to the Federal Government. Discover more at olabs.octo.us.